Are there any old scrapyards left?
In the August C&SC James tells of one of the old time scrappers near where he grew up and how much fun could be had by climbing up and over bent, burnt, greasy, rusty or just plain old, wrecks piled on top of each other. There used to be a lot of these places around, but the Nanny State and the Greenies have closed off that avenue of delight.
While sorting through some more old photo albums I scanned this one of an old mate Larry salvaging parts for his '69 Pontiac Firebird. This was at a yard specialising in American cars at West Drayton. Another regular haunt used to be Metro Spares at Hendon under the flyover, but back in the eighties they were one of the first to clean up their act, put parts on racks under cover and list them on a computer; it was right about then that scrapyards stopped being fun I reckon.
There used to be a fantastic old scrapyard called Langford's, just outside Shaftesbury in Dorset. The last time I went there must have been about 20 years ago, and it was a delight to behold: as well as the more modern stuff there was row after row of cars from the early '30s to late '50s quietly being overtaken by weeds. As I recall, all of the old stuff had "do not touch" painted on it and none were for sale, either complete or as parts. I've no idea what the story behind the cars was but I imagine they've all long since been crushed, more's the pity.
I too have fond childhood memories of squelching around in the mixture of mud and grease at George Smith's scrap yard in Derbyshire. There was always a crunched Mk2 Jag to sit in and daydream. Plenty of leaping cat mascots to rescue too - wish I still had my collection. At the age of 15 I bought a Frisky from George for £7.50p and sold it to a schoolfriend for £15 after a hand paint job in Daytona yellow and a spark plug clean!. 754 DTO, where are you now?
On a related subject ther used to be a car dealer called Roy Minprop in Derby, who sold reasonable cars at Minprop's Motors. Roy also had another outlet that slotted between there and the scap yard. It was called Minprop's Bangerama, and all cars sold there were guaranteed until they were out of sight. Different days.
There are two old scrapyards I've been going to for around 30 years and still operate much the same way, Haynes of Challow near Wantage Oxfordshire and Harry Buckland between Cheltenham and Gloucester. There has been some updating (cars have all fluids removed and aren't stacked) and at Harrys you can no longer remove your own wheels so I assume they had something happen....
Not many classics of course, although Harry often has an MX5 or two and currently there are a couple of Series 2 or 3 Landies there, and an FX4 Taxi as well as 70s Leyland stuff, but mostly it is 10 - 15 year old Euroboxes.
If you go please take care and don't kill or injure yourself ! And if you do then make sure your relatives know it was your fault. I'm sure it wouldn't take much to finish these places off and for the cars to be behind barriers as with most scrapyards these days, that would be very very sad.